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With the world becoming increasingly urban, housing poverty in the global south has made the metaphor ‘planet of slums’ a global reality. This paper revisits the dichotomy of enabler vs. provider debate in housing policy that preoccupied housing scholars in the last few decades. Drawing on the government intervention in Brazil and India, it is argued that the transformative and adaptive capacity of enabling strategy has now come of an age. Among other things, the paper makes a close reading of the historical and geographical (re)constitution of the process of housing delivery in these countries and argues that they have adopted enabling strategies along with closely intertwined strategies of crisis management and show a clear predisposition towards earlier provider approach of state administered, large-scale housing programmes to support the low-income households. Thus, as one policy approach follows another, the discursive space for the government policy doctrine acquires a layered structure, which contains elements of both provider and enabling approaches. Whilst these developments, still evolutionary, challenges remain in the form of conceptual contradictions that continue to obscure our approach towards low-income housing policies in the global South. Arguably on this basis, considerably more, attention should be given to providing housing to the poor in the global South.
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